A league of their own

And now we return to our Dreadball coverage already in progress.

But really, what more is there to say about the new version of Dreadball?  The kickstarter backers have already started receiving their copies (all in a single wave (and there was much rejoicing)), and it will hit retail next year.  Well there is one more minor aspect that has undergone major changes.

Dreadball is a great game and a lot of fun.  But it really starts to come into it's own in League play - where you can not only customize your team, but watch them gain skills and create memorable stories.  Leagues are where legends are born, slamming their way to history on the pitch.

Mantic and the Dreadball Rules Committee spent quite a bit of time overhauling the league system from the first edition to make it cleaner, easier and more fun.  In addition they tied to balance it a bit more so coaches never felt like they were completely out of the running, and everyone was able to improve their players.

If you aren't familiar with leagues - they are a competitive framework where each game can effect subsequent games - in this case by having players gain experience, which can give them additional skills.  In addition, each team earns money by competing, allowing them to purchase more players or other upgrades (such as additional coaching dice, cards, coaching assistants, and cheerleaders).

So what are the changes you can expect?  Well to begin with, there are several pieces of the first edition leagues that have been removed.  Fans on the pitch.  Gone.  Hacking.  Gone.  Free agents - bye bye.  The MVP auction - out of here!

Now while the fan miniatures no longer have any place in the game ( though I'm not sure how many of these Mantic actually sold (though I do have some)), if you have free agent miniatures (which are just players from other teams) then they are still useful.

Instead of free agents, you can now have player transfers from other teams.  There are some limits on these (so no, you can't have multiple Hulk transfers for you Asterian team), but if you want to spend the credits you can fill any holes in your team you want.  There is a premium for transfers however, and it goes up if you don't have that role on your team already (i.e. transferring a guard to a Judwan team).  So you pay this cost plus the standard cost of the player, and they are now part of your permanent roster.

You can borrow players for a single match - in this case you only get the player for a single match (similar to free agents in first edition), however you don't have to pay the premium to get them (but they don't gain experience, nor add to your team value).

MVPs are now treated differently as well.  First each team (except for the Xtreme team - the Renton Rejects - and hopefully this will be fixed) has an option to get a team captain.  The team captain is unique to that type of team - and was the 'team specific' MVP from first edition.  For example, Ludwig, the Z'zor MVP is now available to Z'zor teams as a captain (and is no longer available to any other teams).  The list of teams and their captains are:

  • Human Corporation : 'Lucky' Logan
  • Maruader - Slippery Joe
  • Forge Fathers - Gorim Ironstone
  • Veer-myn - Reek 'Payback' Rolat
  • Human Corporation - Wildcard
  • Judwan - Mee-Kel
  • Meta-bot - DDBR7 'Firewall'
  • Z'zor - Ludwig
  • Teraton - Kal Terza
  • Zee - Riller
  • Nameless - John Doe
  • Asterian - Mellisandra
  • Rebs - Galdo
  • Spyr - Irsala
  • Hobgoblin - Graggot
  • Brokkr - The Excavator
  • Convicts - 'Brickbat' Vognar
  • Kalyshi - Kailasa
  • Ada-Lorana - Phantasm
  • Crystallan - Crypt
  • Tsudochan - M'zei Kein
  • Koris - Kryphos
  • Neo-Bot - Romeo Blue
  • Yndij - Na'Huatl
  • Matsudan - Raiden
  • Cyborg - Frank Burke
  • Mutant - 'Deadman' davitz
  • Mechanite - Brute Force

The rest of the MVPs can now be purchased just like any transfer, though at a significant higher premium.  So you can now permanently hire Buzzcut for your team if you want.  One rule that can help offset the cost of MVPs slightly is any team that has one gets an additional die when determining the amount of credits they get at the end of each match (because the crowds love to see the stars of the game, and gladly pay more!)

One of the problems with first edition leagues was the cost to bring back players killed on the pitch.    I played a game against my son and he beat the snot out of me, however I managed to kill two of his players - in the end due to the cost of reviving them, his team actually lost value after the match even though he had a landslide victory.

Now after a game where a player has been removed from the game due to a serious injury (not foul) the coach rolls two dice and consults a table.  Only a roll of 2-3 means the player is actually dead, and 6-8 (the most common roll) is a full recovery.  They can suffer a stat penalty, or lose an ability (unless they don't have any).  However for 40mc the coach can re-roll one of these dice (each can only be re-rolled once, of course).

If you end up with a player that just isn't performing (or has been injured several times without the decency to actually die) you can fire them for 50mc.

The upside of this is that every player that dies or is fired is replaced for free with a starting player in the same position.  Captains and transfers are the exceptions, they must be bought again.

When players earn enough experience to level up the coach now has a choice.  Each position has a table of 4 advancements that any player can choose from - or they can roll on a unique advancement table for their team/position.  As before, their value goes up 25 mc when they level up.  (The option to ALWAYS choose "A safe pair of hands" for both Jacks and Strikers is, to me, almost a no brainer).

One thing I don't like is the rule book does not list the experience needed for each level.  Instead they expect you to mark off a box on the team roster sheet - when you check off a black bordered promotion space, then they gain a level.  The book shows a picture of part of the experience track..  It seems it would be much simpler to include a table of experience points and levels needed.

I don't see a pattern/formula to the ranks (yet).  In the leagues I've run, I keep all the rosters in a spreadsheet - the experience track is just a bit outdated.

Team revenue has also changed.  You always earn a set amount per match, and then roll for extra getting dice for

  • winning the match
  • most cheers
  • every full 100mc underdog bonus
  • 1 per MVP w/ Crowd Puller rule

These dice do not explode.  Add the results and multiply by 10 for your additional mega credits.  You are limited to purchasing only 1 card and 1 die per match. 

I did a playtest league day a couple of months back, and it was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately we didn't have the cards for captains for most of the teams.  The advancement seemed a bit smoother though, and in four rounds no one was left behind as we seemed to before.  I look forward to running a league with the new edition.

Once I get my copy, I'll show all the contents.

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Would love to see the spread sheet you use as i am starting a league soon to film for Gamers on Games.

    Joshua, The Gamefather-


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